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Acer Aspire P3 review

Katharine Byrne
2 Jul 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

It’s much faster than other £500 Windows 8 tablets, but its temperamental keyboard cradle holds it back from being the very best

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Specifications

11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 790g, 1.4GHz Intel Core i3-3229Y, 2.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 8

The Acer Aspire P3 is an Ultrabook hiding under the guise of a tablet. Its aluminium frame and glossy black bezel look great and the tablet is a slim 9mm thick. It’s much more streamlined than any other Windows 8 tablet we’ve seen, but it’s still a little too heavy to hold in one hand for any prolonged period of time.

Acer Aspire P3

Thankfully, the Aspire P3’s aspirations as an Ultrabook means it comes with a keyboard cradle that doubles up as a stand and carry case. Its leather backing makes it look very smart and feels like a step up from the solid plastic keyboard docks we're used to seeing with products like this.

It’s an attractive bundle and Aspire P3's 11.6in IPS display looks just as gorgeous. Its glossy finish really helped our solid reds, greens and blues jump out of the screen. Blacks and whites were deep and true as well, and it made a real difference in our high contrast images. We were able to see a great level of detail in all our test photos and colours remained rich and vibrant throughout. It’s one of the best tablet displays we’ve seen, and even though there’s no screen tilt available, its wide viewing angles meant we could see what was onscreen from a variety of different angles.

We were also impressed to see the Aspire P3 had a ten-point touchscreen. We would normally expect to see cheaper two- or five-point displays on a tablet of this price, but more touch points makes it makes it much easier to navigate the desktop and use touch-friendly apps from the Windows 8 Store. Its 1,366x768 resolution feels about right for the screen size, as icons are big enough to tap accurately with your fingers. This is just as well, as the keyboard cradle doesn’t have a touchpad, so you’ll need to use the touchscreen to open files and browse the web if you don't have a mouse.

Acer Aspire P3

The Aspire P3 is quite light on ports, as all you get is a single USB3 port, a micro HDMI video output and a combined headphone and microphone jack. You’ll have to use the USB port to charge the Bluetooth keyboard as well, so this might not always be available for other USB devices if you want to transfer files and use the keyboard at the same time, for example.

Acer Aspire P3

Its two integrated speakers are located on the bottom side of the tablet. We were quite impressed with its sound quality overall, as we could hear a little bit of bass as well as a reasonably full body of sound, but they had a tendency to become slightly muffled when we placed the tablet in the keyboard cradle. They're not the best speakers, but they're certainly better than other laptop speakers we've heard.

Acer Aspire P3

A 5-megapixel camera sits on the rear of the tablet. Our outdoor shots were a little hazy in direct sunlight, but on the whole they showed lots of detail and had very accurate colours. Noise was minimal, but this increased quite a lot when there was less light available in our indoor photos. It coped very well when all the main overhead lights were on, but there was a noticeable amount of rainbow-coloured speckle when we switched over to our side lights, and it only grew worse when we turned them all off and relied solely on our fan lights. We wouldn’t recommend filming any video in low lighting conditions either, as it really struggled to focus and keep up with moving objects in our video test. Its level of detail was also quite patchy, with most objects appearing slightly blurry onscreen.